Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Walk to Remember

This weekend our city is holding it's very first Walk to Remember. It is a special day to remember and celebrate the lives of babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and soon after birth. October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month and therefore many of the Walks are held in October.
The website gives a bit of history:

The first Walk to Remember was held in September 1986 in Chicago, Illinois, at the Fifth National Perinatal Bereavement Conference. Now, in the United States, tens of thousands participate in the walk, which is held various weekends throughout September and October.

Many chose October for their Walk because it is the month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, a time of national observance proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The proclamation states: "National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems."

This movement is new in Canada, and Edmonton's Walk to Remember was spearheaded by a lovely woman who lost her baby, Lincoln, last October 10th. All the money raised from the walk will go to a local baby loss support group called Angel Whispers. (Angel Whispers site) Donations can be made online through Canada Helps.

Donations of keepsake teddy bears will also be collected at the walk, so that parents who have lost their babies can be given a teddy bear to hold on to as they grieve. I know that this was important for me. When we lost Kalila, my cousin gave me a sweet little pink teddy bear. I slept with that teddy and Kalila's blanket in my arms for month and months. When our Girly was born, 3 years later, she adopted Kalila's teddy over all her many toys as her comfort object. This has provided countless opportunities to talk about Kalila and remember her with her siblings.

I think that the Walk to Remember is a wonderful opportunity to not only celebrate our babies' lives, but to raise awareness about Infant and Pregnancy Loss. Alberta has the highest infant mortality rate in Canada, so we need to do all we can to inform ourselves and others. It is also a terrific way for friends and families of those who have lost their babies to show their love and support.

So if you are out here in Alberta, come on out to the legislature grounds this weekend and help support families who's precious children have died to soon.